WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EDT):
3:30 p.m. | President Donald Trump says the federal government will be there for the people of California as devastating wildfires sweep across the state’s famed wine country.
Trump says he spoke Monday night with California Gov. Jerry Brown to “let him know that the federal government will stand with the people of California. And we will be there for you in this time of terrible tragedy and need.”
At least 15 people have died and at least 2,000 homes, businesses and other structures have been destroyed in the wildfires in Northern California.
Trump says he is also continuing to pray for those grieving and wounded in the Las Vegas mass shooting and is also thinking of the people affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
He says, “We have to never forget.”
3 p.m. | The White House says President Donald Trump was joking when he appeared to question his secretary of state’s intelligence.
Trump said in an interview published Tuesday in Forbes magazine that if Rex Tillerson did call him a moron, as has been reported, the two should “compare IQ tests.”
“And I can tell you who is going to win,” Trump added.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday that the president “never implied that the secretary of state was not incredibly intelligent.”
She says: “He made a joke, no more than that.”
She also says the president has “100 percent confidence” in Tillerson. She said reporters “should get a sense of humor.”
12:30 p.m. | President Donald Trump says he never undercut his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.
Trump told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Henry Kissinger on Tuesday that he “didn’t undercut anybody.”
Trump also says that he still has confidence in Tillerson.
Earlier this month, Trump tweeted that Tillerson was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with North Korea. In an interview with Forbes Magazine published Tuesday, Trump challenged Tillerson to an IQ test.
Kissinger has been a frequent source of advice for the president.
Trump says he and Kissinger have been friends since long before Trump entered politics. He says he has great respect for the former secretary of state, calling him a man of immense talent and knowledge.
7:10 a.m. | President Donald Trump is challenging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to “compare IQ tests” if Tillerson did indeed ever call Trump a “moron” as reported.
Trump tells Forbes magazine: “I think it’s fake news. But if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”
The president spoke with the magazine Friday. A story was published online Tuesday.
Trump’s tense relationship with Tillerson burst into public view last week. An NBC News story claimed Vice President Mike Pence had to talk Tillerson out of resigning this summer, and that Tillerson had called Trump a “moron.”
Tillerson said he never considered resigning. His spokeswoman said he never used such language. Trump and Tillerson are scheduled to have lunch Tuesday with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
6:54 a.m. | President Donald Trump says that reaching out to congressional Democrats for help in getting immigration legislation passed is difficult because “the Democrats don’t want secure borders.”
Trump sent out a tweet early Tuesday charging that Democrats “don’t care about safety for U.S.A.”
His Twitter post came only two days after Trump sent an immigration overhaul wish-list of legislative proposals to congressional leaders, including a requirement that Congress agree to a host of border security improvements and make significant changes to the green card program.
Trump had said on Sunday there needs to be security enhancements — and the border wall that he’s demanded — before he’d sign onto a bill restoring a program that shields from deportation young people brought to the United States illegally when they were children. •